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Aggressive runs can reap rewards, insists Caley Thistle head coach Billy Dodds

Caley Thistle head coach Billy Dodds.
Caley Thistle head coach Billy Dodds.

Caley Thistle head coach Billy Dodds is demanding his potential scorers to burst into the box with purpose and desire in a bid to deliver killer goals.

Inverness make the trek to Dumfries tonight to tackle Queen of the South in a Championship tussle being screened live on BBC Scotland (kick-off, 7.45pm).

Caley Thistle head coach Billy Dodds.

These are two off-form teams in terms of results, with the second-bottom Doonhamers winless in six matches – that’s one more than ICT, who are third in the table.

However, a win at Palmerston would take Dodds’ team back to second, only one point behind Kilmarnock and above Raith Rovers once more.

In the past fortnight, half-time advantages have not been held as Ayr United hit back for a 2-2 draw and rock-bottom Dunfermline Athletic went one better with a surprise 2-1 comeback victory just after appointing John Hughes as their new boss.

Not taking enough chances – Dodds

Former Scotland striker Dodds, who missed the Pars match due to illness, explained he wants to see his players seek to connect with deliveries into their opponents’ boxes.

He said: “We have been working on plenty of crossing and finishing drills. We need to ensure, when we get the supply in the box, we don’t just jog into positions, you run with a bit of authority.

“We have created good chances and not taken them. I am quite happy with the standard of football we’re playing. We’re just maybe not defending as well from the front as we were earlier in the season when we were right at it.

“I told the boys to look at the Kilmarnock match (a 1-0 win earlier this season) – we were relentless in closing players down. Maybe in the last couple of games we’ve not done that and we’ve lost goals.

“Small mistakes have led to us being punished and I have shown the boys that. It has knocked the confidence a wee bit, but we’re a good bunch and we’re ready to go again.”

With home cup games against Morton and Raith Rovers to follow over the rest of this month, Dodds knows his players have to find a way to leave Dumfries with full points.

He added: “It’s a big game and we’re hanging in there. It’s a long season. This Championship is a marathon and we need to make sure we’re at it for 90 minutes. Even when we’re not dominating the game, just win your percentage of second balls.

“We need a win. We recognise that and we’re going through a wee patch and we can’t hide from that, but there is still a lot of good football within games.”

Strong display can lift confidence

Palmerston is a happy hunting ground, with ICT unbeaten there in their last nine games.

And Dodds wants his team to grasp more control of matches, as they have demonstrated at times this season.

He said: “I like to dominate the bigger percentage of play and, when we are not dominating certain parts of the game, we dig in. If we do that, I’m sure we’ll get a win on the board and the confidence comes back.

Michael Gardyne netted a late winner for Inverness against Queen of the South earlier this season.

“We’ll go another run again, but it has to start soon and we acknowledge that, we not hiding from it. We have to win a couple of games to sort that to get the confidence back.”

Fire in bellies to score away win

When it was put to Dodds that Aaron Doran was far from happy with the team’s performance when doing press duties straight after the Dunfermline match, Dodds was happy to hear that.

He added: “He wasn’t the only one who was angry. I couldn’t wait to get back.

“I said to them: ‘do you realise how well you’re playing in stages of the game? We have to make sure we are doing the dirty side. Sometimes they don’t get space and we will see out games again.’

“But it is good to hear my players are like that, I want them to be like that, it’s the only way to close the gap to Kilmarnock, who have put a run together, and Raith Rovers, too.
Hopefully it is our turn to get a few results and get back up there.”

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